One of the aims of the International Conference on Biofuels: Biofuels as a Vector for Sustainable Development, to be held in the city of São Paulo, from November 17 to 21 is to contribute to the international debate concerning the challenges and opportunities created by biofuels.
The event will be divided into two segments: one set of five plenary sessions that will be open to the public on the 17th, 18th and 19th, and a high-level intergovernmental segment, on the 20th and the 21st, counting on the attendance of the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and of the minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Reinhold Stephanes.
Lula is expected to announce, at the opening of the conference, an agricultural zoning plan for Brazil, which is currently being prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture. The study is going to show the areas of Brazil where agriculture may be expanded, not including the Amazon, the Pantanal Wetlands, indigenous areas, forests etc.
The study conducted by the ministry is going to show, for example, that sugarcane answers to 16% of the Brazilian energy matrix. It is one of the cleanest and most renewable in the world, second only to oil and derivatives (37%).
Useable parts of the plant include the juice, bagasse and straw for the manufacturing of sugar, ethanol, fertilizer and bioelectricity, with the advantage of reducing environmental impact and generating carbon credits.
Of the Brazilian territory, which totals 851 million hectares, less than 1% is occupied with cane farming for sugar and alcohol production. Little over half the cane is used by the sugar and alcohol sector, and 57% for ethanol manufacturing. The remainder goes to sugar production, and a small percentage is destined for other products such as cachaça (cane spirit), rapadura (hard candy) and animal forage.
During the conference, the federal government and industry specialists are going to expose and discuss the know-how that Brazil has gathered over the course of almost 35 years using and manufacturing ethanol. With a forecast output of 27 billion liters for the 2007/2008 crop, Brazil is the world's leading producer country of ethanol from sugarcane
Representatives of 50 different countries are expected. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, the conference is going to contribute to the international discussion of the challenges and opportunities linked to biofuels.
Related topics, such as energy security, sustainable production and use, agriculture, and industrial processing will also be discussed, as well as issues pertaining to specifications and technical standards, international trade, climate change, and the future of biofuels.
According to the Secretariat of Production and Agroenergy at the Ministry of Agriculture, foreign investment in the Brazilian sugar and alcohol industry represents approximately 15%. Ethanol consumption is already higher than that of gasoline, and Brazilian flex-fuel vehicles will run on up to 100% of hydrated ethanol.
Anhydrous alcohol is presently mixed into gasoline at a rate of 25%. Brazil has an estimated fleet of over 6 million flex-fuel vehicles. There is a forecast for 30 billion reais (US$ 1.3 billion) to be invested in the implementation of new manufacturing units up until 2012. The country has been carrying out tests using ethanol mixed into gasoline since 1925.
The goal of the government is to strengthen international cooperation, spread the national know-how in biofuels, and convey knowledge and technology, so as to enable other countries to produce ethanol in a sustainable manner as well. Thus, biofuels will become consolidated as a commodity that generates investment not only in Brazil, but also in partnering countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.
To Marrakech and Beyond
Even in the face of the tsunami that haunts the world economy, and consequently Brazil, exports of the agribusiness production chain to the Arab countries are still growing above the average of foreign sales by the sector to the rest of the world.
Figures supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture show, for example, that last month, Brazilian exports of agricultural products to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt generated revenues of US$ 357.624 million – representing expansion of 86.9% compared with October last year.
It is worth noting that in October this year, Brazilian exports to the global market totaled US$ 6.6 billion – growth of 9.8% in comparison with the same period last year.
Upon reviewing the balance of trade figures for October, which were disclosed last week by the Ministry of Agriculture, one will notice that Brazilian agribusiness exports to Egypt grew the most, out of 150 countries that import agricultural products from Brazil.
In the month of October, the nation of the pharaohs purchased from Brazil the equivalent to US$ 92.8 million, growth of 168% over October 2007, and answered to 1.4% of total Brazilian agribusiness exports.
Also in October, Saudi Arabia purchased 2.6% of the agricultural products that Brazil sold to the world. The Saudis imported US$ 170.418 million, growth of 86.2% in comparison with October 2007.
Growth was also recorded in agribusiness exports to the United Arab Emirates, which bought from Brazil in October 2008 the equivalent to US$ 94.334 million – growth of 44.7% over the same month of 2007. Last month, Saudi Arabia was the 13th leading destination for Brazilian agribusiness exports.
Balance of Trade
In all, agribusiness exports from January to October 2008 generated revenues of US$ 61.9 billion, representing growth of 26.8% over the same period of 2007. The figures supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply also show that the sector's trade surplus grew by US$ 10 billion, having risen from US$ 41.7 billion, from January to October last year, to US$ 51.3 billion so far in 2008.
In the accumulated result during the last 12-month period (November 2007 to October 2008), agribusiness sector foreign sales reached an all-time high at US$ 71.5 billion – resulting in revenues 24.6% greater than recorded during the previous period.
The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer company Embraer is going to exhibit at trade fair Middle East Business Aviation (Meba), to be held at the Dubai International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates, from the 16th to the 18th this month. This will be the second time that the Brazilian company participates in an exhibition in the Arab world this month. It has already showcased its aircraft at Aviation Expo (Avex), held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from November 05 to 08.
In Dubai, the company is going to present the Legacy 600 business jet, in the super-midsize category, as well as a transversal section of the cabin of the Lineage 1000, its largest business aircraft, modeled after the Embraer 170/190 business jet line, plus a life-sized model of the Phenom 300.
In an interview one day before the opening of the Avex's, the marketing and sales director for business aircraft to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Colin Steven, stated that the Arab world is an important market for the company, having purchased more than 10% of all Legacy 600s sold until this day.
In a press release issued by the company, Steven stated that the Dubai fair is becoming increasingly popular, and that the family of Embraer business jets enjoyed "excellent acceptance" in the region. On Sunday, November 16, the company is going to hold a press conference for the local media.
Anba – www.anba.com.br
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